When Your Mother Passes Away, Start Something New

Nick Tuma
6 min readOct 4, 2020

I lost my mother, Suzanne Gust, in 2004 at age 56 to Ovarian cancer. To this day I can hear her voice saying “do your best, no matter”. It has been a very tough time trying to remember all the little things about her and her life. I am writing this to keep some of those memories alive.

Although she passed young, she didn’t do everything in life she wanted to, such as going to Europe and seeing the main tourist attractions. Some of the high points in her life were she received a BS in Education, Became a Master Gardener, and had 3 boys. She had a lot of friends who she met through Mother Earth Stores, Young Living Essential Oils, and Aubrey Organics.

Remembering the Little Things About My Mom

Every year I try to keep on remembering facts about her whether they were the good and the bad. I am sure if she were still alive she would not be very happy with me sharing some of these.

  • She loved to burn food.
  • Her passion was gardening and so did her mom/dad.
  • On the way to school some mornings she would speed on the back roads of Cape Coral, FL because we were late. It caught up with her and she received a ticket while my brother and I were in the car.
  • She loved blue cars even though her favorite color was purple. She loved the color of lavender and the smell.
  • She didn’t mind the taste of Spirulina, if you don’t know what it is, look it up. HAHA.
  • Our home growing up smelled like essential oils and vitamins.
  • She loved to talk, phone calls, meetups… I am sure she would like the invention of the cell phone and social media. (She never had a cell-phone back then)
  • She had a contagious laugh.
  • Moo Moos was her thing and she wore them like a runway model.
  • She loved the store's Chicos, TJ Maxx, and Stein’s Garden & Home were her go-to.
  • She saw the good in people even though they messed up.
  • She didn’t look at people’s color, income level, class, or any of that shit… only at their heart and where they are going.
  • She loved art and color and anything creative.
  • She pushed my brother and me into the fine arts.
  • She loved African colors and aesthetics.
  • She loved Aretha Franklin and soul music.
  • Birkenstocks were her go-to shoe of choice.
  • Her handwriting was amazing and quick.
  • She loved to sneak in popcorn and candy to the movies.
  • One of her favorite shows was Seinfeld. I remember her and my father laughing so hard late at night.

The Little Things

A bookmark my mother had. She was an avid reader.

Aretha Franklin was her favorite music artist. She asked me to play it at her funeral. She also asked me to give out little jars of Lavender, which I did. Both my brothers and I went around Milwaukee, Wisconsin in search of Aretha Franklin’s CD, buying over 100 small jars and putting them together with Lavender the night before her funeral. I gave out as many of these jars as I could and dispersed the rest of them on the property. I am sure she would be proud of us knowing that we accomplished all of this and spent the time together.

A Good Mother That Tried Her Best

Sue was a good mother even though we didn’t have a lot of money. She tried every day to give us the best life. I was not the perfect child but some of the last few months were the best memories I hold on to. After I got back from an Army National Guard activation in Tampa we shared some of the best conversations. She also would make me my favorite meal spaghetti. Yes, I know simple but I looked forward to it when I was young and still to this day.

The Business I Started Again in 2020

I have been an executive in Young Living Essential Oils since 2004 after my mother passed it to me after her death. I have not really done anything with it and have been stagnant for a few years. At one point my downline had 500 members now it is hovering at 300.

Essential Oils

I will be honest, essential oils are not my passion… they were my mother’s, Sue Gust. I miss her terribly, thus is while I am trying to keep this alive. Fast forward to Christmas 2020 when I decided to open an Etsy shop and throw a bottle of Thieves Young Living Essential oil up. I didn’t do anything such as branding or a description. Just a savvy title with an SEO keyword that was picked up by Google.

While I know it may not sound like much but I have sold 2 bottles. At one point in my life when I was in college 2010ish, I made about 50k selling on eBay. I didn’t follow their guidelines and was ultimately kicked off because I didn’t follow up with an email. These essential oils were part of that side hustle and I didn’t think about the consequences. I have highs and lows and sometimes I rather march to the beat of my own drum. Some people call it being stubborn.

Lavender fields that inspired the Aromatherapy Logo.

The great thing about being a graphic designer is when you are ready to start something you can. A lot of people talk while they lack execution to start something. The graphic skills I have are the hidden link, just as my mother believed in homeopathic remedies.

Aromatherapy Logo

Aromatherapy Logo

Meet the new logo for a renewed aromatherapy business that will incorporate Young Living Essential Oils. While I know the shape is quite simple it is the story that matters. Each drop of oil was very important and something I brought into the overall shape of the logo. My mother was ever so passionate about what Young Living Essential Oils stood for. The logo was created with my mother and her legacy at the focal point.

The logo color palette is from the lavender fields. This color hue was also my mother’s favorite color. These lavender fields can be seen within the oil drop. I thought I would share this logo with you and how I will keep my mother’s legacy within this small business.

A Whistle I Am Still Waiting to Hear

Before she passed we had a conversation about death. I knew she knew her time was near. We promised each other that we would whistle to each other in the afterlife when we got to where we were going, in her case heaven. I am still waiting for the whistle.

No matter where you are in life, make time for your mother. Give your mother a call or text. If you see her tell her how amazing she is and give her a long embrace. You never know the next time you will see her. By all means, hold onto the little things. I love you, mom.



Nick Tuma

Savvy graphic designer and digital marketer. Science, Structure & Strategy. www.nick-tuma.com